Effects of dietary combination of n-3 and n-9 fatty acids on the deposition of linoleic and arachidonic acid in broiler chicken meats

Poult Sci. 2012 Apr;91(4):1009-17. doi: 10.3382/ps.2011-01836.


To minimize the amount of n-6 fatty acids in broiler chicken meat, 120 Cobb × Ross male broilers were divided into 6 different groups and fed a basal corn-soybean meal diet containing 5% fat from 5 different lipid sources: 1) a commercial mix of animal and vegetable oil, 2) soybean oil and olive oil (2.5% each), 3) flaxseed oil and olive oil (2.5% each), 4) flaxseed oil, eicosapentaenoic acid (C20:5; EPA; n-3), and olive oil (2.45, 0.05, and 2.5% respectively; FEO), 5) flaxseed oil, docosahexaenoic acid (C22:6; DHA; n-3), and olive oil (2.45, 0.05, and 2.5% respectively; FDO), and 6) fish oil and olive oil (2.5% each; FHO). At 6 and 9 wk, one bird per pen (4 pens per treatment) was processed, and liver, breast, and thigh samples were collected and used for fatty acid profiles or Δ6- and Δ9-desaturase mRNA gene expression levels. The deposition of linoleic acid (C18:2; n-6) or arachidonic acid (C20:4; n-6) was decreased in breast and thigh muscles of chickens fed n-3 fatty acids for 9 wk compared with chickens fed animal and vegetable oil and soybean oil and olive oil diets (P < 0.05). The addition of EPA to the diet (FEO; P > 0.05) did not reduce the deposition of linoleic acid and arachidonic acid as much as DHA (FDO; P < 0.05), and it suppressed the expression of Δ6- and Δ9-desaturase. When EPA and DHA were blended (FHO) and supplied to broiler chickens for 9 wk, EPA and DHA combination effects were observed on the deposition of LA and arachidonic acid in breast and thigh muscles. Thereby, the addition of a mixed EPA and DHA to a broiler chicken diet may be recommendable to reduce arachidonic acid accumulation in both broiler chicken breast and thigh meats, providing a functional broiler chicken meat to consumers.

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed / analysis
  • Animal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Animals
  • Arachidonic Acid / metabolism*
  • Chickens / physiology*
  • Diet / veterinary
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Supplements / analysis
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / administration & dosage*
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / administration & dosage*
  • Linoleic Acid / metabolism*
  • Liver / chemistry
  • Male
  • Meat / standards*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / chemistry
  • Random Allocation
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction / veterinary


  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Arachidonic Acid
  • Linoleic Acid